A comprehensive library of technical briefs from engineering experts at NASA and major government, university, and commercial laboratories covering all aspects of innovations in electronics, software, photonics, imaging, motion control, automation, sensors, test, materials, manufacturing, mechanical, and mechatronics.

Printed-wiring boards (PWBs) that are especially suitable as substrates for highly reliable, lightweight electronic circuits for aircraft and spacecraft have been developed. Like...

Thin films of Li2CO3 are under consideration for use as passivating layers between electrodes and solid electrolytes in advanced thin-film lithium-ion...

NASA’s F-15B #836 is a two-seat version of the F-15, which is a high-performance, supersonic, all-weather fighter airplane. The F-15B is used as a test-bed aircraft for a wide variety...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improved Alignment Mechanism for Robotic Drilling

An improved alignment mechanism and mating procedure have been devised for a robotic drilling system in which there is a need to assemble drill stem rods for sampling soils and rocks on a...

A technique for measuring the volume of an incompressible liquid in a rigid tank involves measurement of the total volume of gas in those parts of the tank not occupied by the liquid....

A small mobile robot equipped with a stereoscopic machine vision system and two manipulator arms that have limited degrees of freedom has been given the ability to perform...

A process that includes photolithography, liftoff, etching, and sputter deposition has been developed to enable the fabrication of thin, finely patterned layers of gold, platinum,...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Software for Optimized Flattening From 3D to 2D

A computer program offers enhanced capabilities for calculating two-dimensional (2D) patterns needed to construct specified three-dimensional (3D) surfaces to within acceptably close approximations, with minimal waste of sheet material. Examples of complexly shaped sheet-material items that could...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Electron-Beam Welding of Superalloys at High Temperatures

Electron-beam welding at high temperatures has been found to be a suitable process for joining structural components made by casting certain superalloys. This process can be used in the fabrication of superalloy parts that must withstand high operating temperatures. Examples of such parts...

An improved method of sterilizing petri-dish spreaders and a spreader design to implement the method have been developed. In comparison with the conventional methods of sterilizing...

Briefs: Medical
Quantifying Microbial Diversity Through Dilution/Extinction

A method of relatively easily, rapidly, and inexpensively quantifying the structural diversity of a multiple-species community of micro-organisms is based on the rate of extinction of phenotypic traits across a dilution gradient of a sample of the community. In this context, the concept...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Solar Simulator for a Portable Solar-Absorptance Instrument

A special-purpose solar simulator includes (1) a tungsten lamp that serves as a gray-body radiator with a temperature of 3,200 K and (2) a mosaic of filters such that the filtered lamp output has the same normalized spectral irradiance as that of sunlight outside the atmosphere of the...

A small, lightweight, low-power instrument, denoted a proton-transferreaction/ ion-mobility spectrometer (PTR-IMS) has been developed for detecting airborne organic compounds at...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Quantum Mechanics of Harmonic Oscillator in External Fields

A report presents a theoretical study of a harmonic oscillator in homogeneous or nonhomogeneous externally applied electric and/or gravitational fields. The standard quantum-mechanical formalism for a simple harmonic oscillator, starting with the Hamiltonian and the associated creation...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Algorithms for Collision Avoidant Formation Flying

A report discusses algorithms for realtime planning of translation paths of multiple spacecraft flying in formation. The algorithm takes account of requirements to avoid collisions while operating within resource constraints (e.g., not calling for an acceleration greater than maximum possible)...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Integrated Colloid Thrusters for Microspacecraft

A report proposes the development of a microfabricated, integrated colloid thruster as a prototype of devices for propulsion and control of the attitudes of microspacecraft. (In a colloid thruster, a beam of positively charged, microscopic droplets is extracted electrohydrodynamically from a...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
PCI Bridge to Instruments and Telecommunication Systems

A report describes a prototype system interface assembly (SIA) that performs the functions of a compact, radiation-hard application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) to be built subsequently. The SIA ASIC would be installed in a spacecraft, where it would function as a peripheralcomponent...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Effect of Gravitation on Noninteracting Trapped Fermions

A report presents a theoretical study of the thermodynamics of an ultralow-temperature gas of fermions that interact with a gravitational field and with an externally imposed trapping potential but not with each other. The gravitational field is taken to define the z axis and the trapping...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improvements in a Piezoelectrically Actuated Microvalve

A report discusses the continuing development of a normally closed, piezoelectrically actuated valve fabricated mostly by micromachining of silicon. The design and operation of the microvalve as described in the instant report are basically the same as those of the version described in...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Low-Energy Transfer From Near-Earth to Near-Moon Orbit

A report presents a theoretical approach to designing a low-energy transfer of a spacecraft from an orbit around the Earth to ballistic capture into an orbit around the Moon. The approach is based partly on the one presented in “Low-Energy Interplanetary Transfers Using Lagrangian...

An optical system that utilizes visible light at nearly perpendicular incidence has been invented for use in testing the surface figures of nominally axisymmetric (paraboloidal,...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Making Digital Composite Images for Technical Illustration

A method of generating three-dimensional composite digital images can serve multiple purposes in technical illustration. The method was devised to accelerate and facilitate the design of new electric lights and receptacles for large buildings, and can just as well be applied to the...

A portable instrument denoted a phase-retrieval camera (PRC) is designed to enable the testing of large, lightweight optics in the presence of vibrations and atmospheric turbulence. The development...

The liquid-crystal phase-shifting shearing interferometer is a common-path interferometer based partly on a lateral-shear-plate interferometer. It bears a partial similarity to the...

The figure schematically depicts an apparatus for measuring strain at only one designated location on a structure. The apparatus is a fiber-optic phase-locked loop, wherein strain...

The efficiencies and thus the brightnesses of flat-panel projectors based on liquid-crystal devices (LCDs) and digital mirror devices (DMDs) would be increased by the combination of...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Multi-Screen-Image- and Catalog-Viewing Program

A computer program enables the single- or multi-screen display of multispectral, multiresolution images — especially astronomical ones — stored as sets of data that range upward in size from hundreds of gigabytes. In cases of multi-screen displays, the software synchronizes the screens so that...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Software Automates Processing of SAR Image Data

The Automated SAR Image Processor (ASIP) computer program increases the efficiency of production of scientifically useful imagery from raw synthetic-aperture-radar (SAR) image data. In the absence of ASIP, the processing of SAR data is a labor-intensive task, often involving supporting personnel,...

The term "COSMOWRAP" denotes a compact, stiff, remotely actuatable, lightweight, quick-release clamp that could be substituted for the larger, heavier, and more-difficult-to-use toggle-action...

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Next-Generation Design for Heavy Equipment

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